A View from Here

Bill's Sisson's weekly Trade Only blog

Where are you spending your marketing dollars?

Soundings Trade Only is making a big push for its digital edition. Consumer boating magazines are being sold off to media conglomerates with economies-of-scale in an effort to keep them alive. Brands are pulling tons of ad money out of traditional media and putting it into online media, especially sponsored search.  (Full disclosure – last week Home Port launched NautSource.com, a boating products search engine with a sponsored search program for marine advertisers. So yeah I think this is where our industry is headed.)

For upcoming generations of potential boat owners (especially the 18-25 age group), the internet has replaced newspapers as the primary source of news and information.

So let’s have at it here. Print editors & publishers, defend your business model. Online boating media, is it your time to shine? Marketers… where are you putting your ad dollars today… and tom’row?

David Pilvelait
Home Port Marine Marketing


7 comments on “Where are you spending your marketing dollars?

  1. Parke Brinkley

    One one hand, a lot of the older baby boomers (age 45 & up) with a big chunk of the disposable income, still prefer to get their information through traditional media. Their children however, who have a major influence on the buying decision, certainly prefer the online experience. The rest of us are in between somewhere. The best marine marketers will probably do what they’ve always done- have a good balaced approach that blends different media, with the main trick being to figure out which media should get the lion’s share of the budget. In any case, it seems the end-goal should be to gather the prospects through advertising, and get them all into the dealers’ showrooms.

  2. peter siskind

    Internet marketing, in ALL its forms, requires minimal cost, as far as I’m concerned.

    With a few exceptions, I am putting most of my marketing money into my Rep and Dealers hands.

    I am giving deeper discounts to my dealers and rewarding my Reps with bonuses for quantifiable results.

    I always believe that if you feed the horses, there is no limit to how far the wagon is pulled.

    The dealers, the guys in the trenches, react well to better financial support.

    Peter Siskind
    SeaVision Technologies

  3. Darren

    An aggressive online strategy is the way to go in today’s market. First and foremost the cost per lead is the lowest compared to all of the traditional mediums. Secondly, the ROI is more accessible and accurate with electronic media. The research shows more and more people are starting their search online to find the next luxury item. If they can’t find you or what they want you won’t even get a chance at their business

    Darren Falk
    Marine WebServices

  4. Neal Larsson


    Good luck on your new venture.

    Our company is an 11 year old regional magazine, an 8 year old regional website and a 4 year old regional TV production company, we have a couple years of radio mixed in there as well and this whole ball of wax is what I now call our one year old “media group”. Our magazine continues to grow on the newsstand, its subscriber base and in ad revenue as well. We’ve been able to do this by utilizing the media mix we’ve created. I tend to look at issues from the publishing side of things as that is my background. Publishing does not need to be defended, but publishers do need to realize that they need to adapt and evolve. To be one dimensional in this era in any marketing medium, including the web is suicide.

    In my opinion too much has been made of the internet in terms of advertising. The internet is an incredible marketing tool and should be utilized first and foremost as a tool. As an advertising medium it is just a piece of what I’ll call the “new” marketing mix and has it’s limitations.

    I’m always amazed at how we have such short term memories. Didn’t anyone learn from the first web craze? “If you build it they will come”, as they said in the movie Field of Dreams, does not hold true in the web world. Web 2.0 as they call it, is no different. Everyone would like the magic pill to instantly make their business boom but the reality is that there is nothing that will help a good product become a strong brand like a well thought out, well planned marketing mix that utilizes a well rounded media buy. Once people find you, that’s where the internet shines, as a tool to bring your product or brand to life.

    We are a 1 year old “media group” as I mentioned because after 11 years of developing our own media mix to make our advertisers message stand out a funny thing happened, we’ve developed an incredibly strong brand in our region among our viewers, readers, and listeners. Ultimately this is what advertisers want, people watching, seeing or hearing their message. I can go on about the strength of Regional media vs. National but we’ll save that for another thread down the line.

    I guess my question back to you is… How do you plan to get your brand in front of the target audience? Will you use traditional media? How are you going to get people to recognize your brand as “THE” search engine tool for boaters? Will they come now that you’ve built it? I’ve got a great sales staff that can help you out with a solid media mix here in the Northeast!

    Great post topic. Thanks & Best of luck!


    Neal Larsson
    General Manager
    On The Water Media Group

  5. Elizabeth Prince

    Great question, David.

    The internet, boiled down to its essentials, is simply the latest and greatest distribution mechanism for content, that mechanism having been improved over the eons from cave walls and stone tablets to paper and ink, telegraph, television and radio. Adversiting is successful when interwoven with engaging content. The most effective advertising can be had when barriers to the content are low; i.e. the Super Bowl is free to watch, so a billion or so people see it, and while advertising is expensive, the rate per impression is actually not out of line.

    Subscriptions to Classic Yacht magazine are completely free at http://www.classicyachtmag.com, and internet distribution means we have readers on five continents and three seas. We combine the efficiencies of the internet with the look and editorial substance of a paper magazine. This allows advertisers to send us the full-page ad they’ve already paid their agency to produce for print, but in Classic Yacht magazine one click on their ad opens up a new window directly to their business. CPM rates are dramatically lower than traditional print since there’s no paper, ink or delivery truck.

    The content, and the advertising, flourish.

    Elizabeth Prince
    Classic Yacht Magazine

  6. Allan

    I am about to launch a sightseeing vessel here in Canada, to be more specific, the north west coast. I would like to hear from other operators some of the good and bad of this type of business. If there are like wise business managers who rely on the tourist business (seasonal) I would like to discuss and learn from them.

  7. Rusty Coan

    In response to Elizabeth’s post.

    You have highlighted on of the MAJOR problems with print media making the leap to internet advertising. Simply put, print is not web, and web is not print. So by simply showing the web visitor an electronic copy of your customers ad you are doing a great disservice to both your advertiser and to the customer.

    As Neal said “If you build it they will come” when speaking of the first web flop. His comments are very true. I’ve seen some horrible magazine and newspaper sites that try to deliver the ‘print’ experience on the web. From gaudy page flip effects, super tiny text that cannot be read to pages which make the visitor scroll right/left.

    If you’re a print medium and you want to go to the web, please stop scanning your pages or converting them to pdf’s for web view. Start over, and do it the right way. If you want people to appreciate your product whether it print, video or web you have to do it right.

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